Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mindy's Birthday Dinner

Friday night my core group of buddies (Jennifer, Donna, Renon and of course Mindy) gathered at my house to celebrate Mindy's birthday.  We have really gotten away from going out these days to celebrate.  I think it's much more relaxing, special and cozy to get together in someone's home.

Before dinner we got into a conversation about the book, The 5 Love Languages (as a side note, if  you haven't read this book, you really should).  The way I show love is by "acts of service."  I love to do special (well, what I consider special) things for my friends ... cooking, hand-made items, etc.  So for Mindy's birthday I wanted to host a little 'girls only" dinner party.  I think we should have dinner parties more often, it seems like such a lost art.

I set the big table for dinner that night, complete with the good china (again, my idea of good china), nice glasses and candles.

I set the small table with the goodies for the night.  The vino, glasses (complete with Mindy's special glass), Reese's peanut butter cups (Mindy's favorite), the cake and of course the gifts (not shown here).  Later the table was complete with beautiful flowers compliments of Jenn.

Here is a close-up of the cake.  I finally used my Giant Cupcake baking pan.  It was so cute when I took it out of the pan ... it really looked like a cupcake!
Foodwise we had:  Salad:  italian salad complete with italian dressing, pecans, dried cranberries and feta cheese.  Main Dish:  Boneless Pork Loin with Red Wine Cranberry Glaze (thanks to Guy Fieri).  This turned out pretty well, next time I would add more salt to the brine, add the sage leaf and the juniper berries which I left out (as a small container of the berries were $8) and cut the loin into cutlets before pan searing.  The cranberry glaze was a bit time consuming, but well worth it and really pretty.  Side Dish:  Mac and Cheese.  This was not just any old Mac and Cheese.  This was Ina Garten's baked Mac and Cheese.  This was pretty fabulous, even if I do say so myself.  Just a note, this is not anywhere near a "healthy, low fat recipe."  It contains a quart of milk, 8oz of sharp cheddar, 12oz of gruyere, bread and of course butter!  This was the first time that I have purchased gruyere cheese.  It took about $15 worth of just this cheese.  But, again, I say it was worth it!  As a side note, we all agreed that we would love to be friends with Ina Garten and be invited to her ultra cool house in the Hamptons.  You know her friends eat really well!

After dinner we chilled out in the living room with our vino and talked "boys," recipes, politics and the evilness of Oprah (well, that was mostly me) while Mindy opened her gifts.  Then we dug into the cake ... a perfect ending to a great evening with people that I adore!

Of course, there was an aftermath ... I tend to be a messy cook.

There would have been a time when I would have stayed up and cleaned the kitchen before going to bed.  Humm, not these days.  I'm still in the boot and by the end of the evening, my foot was not feeling so great.  I ran one load of dishes and called it a night.  Saturday morning I did another load of dishes and cleaned up the kitchen.  After left overs Saturday night, I was exhausted and left all of those dishes.  Thank goodness my hubby did another load of dishes this morning before I even got out of bed (yea for Mother's Day!) ... and there is still one more load to do.

Oh well, life goes on and it is the season finale of The Amazing Race tonight ... priorties!


  1. That giant cupcake is too cute! I have that pan, but haven't tried to do a cake with it yet. :) Thanks so much for the visit. :)

  2. I must confess - I've had my pan for about the same amount of time and it finally dawned on me to ... use it :)